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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

China's Chang'e 4 Spacecraft Enters Lunar Orbit Ahead of 1st-Ever Far Side Landing

•, By Andrew Jones

The spacecraft entered an elliptical lunar polar orbit with a perilune of 62 miles (100 kilometers) at 3:45 a.m. EST (0845 GMT) Dec. 12 following a lunar orbit insertion burn.

The spacecraft's single main variable thruster fired at 80 miles (129 km) distant from the moon following the issuing of a command from the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center (BACC) at 3:39 a.m. EST (0839 GMT).

The China Lunar Exploration Project (CLEP) announced the success of the crucial braking maneuver within minutes and confirmed that the spacecraft was functioning well and will begin preparations for communications tests with a relay satellite and refining its orbit.

Chang'e 4 was launched by a Long March 3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, southwest China, at 1:23 p.m. EST (1823 GMT) on Dec. 7 for a 110-hour journey to the moon.

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